DIY Chalkboard Frame

After a friend asked me to do some chalkboard lettering for her son’s wedding, I thought “wow, this is fun and easy!” So I got some chalkboard paint and decided to upcycle a couple of cheap picture frames I purchased at the Habitat ReStore into message boards.

Here is a quick and easy tutorial for creating your own writable, erasable chalkboard signs.


STEP 1Prepare the Frames.

One frame had some interesting detail, but I needed to replace the insert and backerboard. The other was a square frame with a watermelon picture in it, which I left as is. I taped off the edges of both frames to get ready for paint.

STEP 2 – Paint.

For the square frame, I painted right over the glass with the green chalkboard paint. On the rectangular one, I used the black chalkboard paint, going over the heavy white art board that replaced the original art. I gave both of them 3-4 coats of paint, allowing drying time between coats. I used a brush, but it would be smoother using a small roller. However, the paint worked great on both surfaces. 

STEP 3 – Paint Frames.

I painted the square frame with 2 coats of General Finishes Driftwood Milk Paint. For the other frame, I used some leftover wall paint from my kitchen – Valspar Crystal Aqua. I then brushed a coat of General Finishes Gray Gel Stain over the aqua and wiped it off, allowing the color to go into the grooves of the frame. 

Paint the frame.

STEP 4 – Ready for Chalk!

To prepare the boards for chalk, it is a good idea to “season” them by running the side of a piece of chalk across the surface. This helps prevent “ghosting” of chalk images after the writing is erased. Rub in the chalk and then erase it. Now you’re ready to go.

STEP 5 – Create Your Art!

Now for the fun part – creating designs on the message boards! You can use regular chalk or chalk markers, or a combination of both, for lettering and art. I really like the chalk markers because you can get more precise lines, the colors show up nicely against the dark background, and you don’t get the chalky feel on your hands.

I found this 8-pack Gainwell Earth Tone Color Chalk Pens on Amazon for $10.99. 

Pinterest is your friend for inspiration and a plethora of chalkboard art images.  If you don’t feel comfortable with your own artistic abilities, you can make the process easier by printing a design first. Then you can put carbon paper underneath to trace the lines onto the board. Or you can rub chalk across the back of the paper, and then trace the image on the chalkboard. Either way will give you guidelines to follow to create any design you like.

If you need to do any touch-ups, put some water on a Q-tip and use it as an eraser. This works for chalk as well as the markers. 

I freehanded the images on my two message boards, so they aren’t perfect but that’s okay. The message on the gray frame was created using a white chalk pen and some regular chalk for the dandelion. The other image was made with the Gainwell chalk markers.

When you’re ready for something new, simply clean it off with a wet cloth. I can’t wait to change mine up for every season or whenever a whim hits me! 

Head to your local Woodcraft store and pick up a can of Rust-Oleum Chalk Board Paint today! You can make just about any surface into a chalkboard, including tabletops, walls, cabinets, metal and glass.

But wait – there’s more! Rust-Oleum also makes a Clear Chalk Board Paint that can create the same chalkboard effect without changing the underlying color. Or you can tint it any color you like. Think of the possibilities! I know I am.

We hope you'll be inspired!

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